(I wrote this a few weeks ago to practice html formatting tags. It originally went in a “Miscellaneous” portion of the site (now removed). Since it can’t go there any more, it goes best here.)
The awesomest formula of them all.
After four years in aerospace engineering school, one as a math major, 1.5 as a working engineer, five as a helicopter pilot, and 1.5 (and counting) as a computer science graduate student, I know a lot of mathematical formulas. But what, you may be asking, what is the awesomest formula of them all? I humbly submit to you that it’s this one:
eiπ = -1
How can this be so amazing? Think about it for a second: e is the base of the natural logarithm, an irrational number, approximately 2.718. i is the square root of -1, a number which is so mindbendingly impossible (since you can’t take the square root of a negative number) it forms the basis for a class of numbers that are called imaginary numbers. π is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, another (and perhaps the most famous) irrational number, at approximately 3.14159. So. Take e, raise it to the power of i times π, and what do you get? -1. One of the most boringly normal numbers out there. And, oh yeah: no matter to what number you raise a positive number (like e), you cannot get a negative number.